Record £1.7m was handed out in fines, compared to £4.9m for the whole of 2017, according to new research

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Image source: Sebastien Bertrand

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has handed out a record number of fines in January as pressure mounts on businesses to address data issues before the GDPR deadline in May.

A record £1.7m was handed out in fines by the ICO, compared to £4.9m for the whole of 2017, according to new research.

This new record represents an increase of 312% above the average monthly figure for 2017.

A total of nine companies were fined in January; the highest for any one month, according to The SMS Works, which analysed the fines data.

Financial services firms topped the hall of shame with 44% of fines being targeted at the sector.

Fines were issued for all the main types of offences that the authority oversees, including email and SMS messaging spam, nuisance call and data protection breaches.

Nuisance calls continued to dominate the fine landscape, according to The SMS Works, attracting penalties of £900,000 or 54% of all fines in the month.

The GDPR regulations are set to come into force across the EU on 25 May.

Organisations that fail to comply with the GDPR face heavy fines up to €20m or up to 4% of global annual turnover, whichever is higher.